Core Modules

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines health as not merely the absence of illness or infirmity, but a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing.[1] Within palliative care, the absence of illness or infirmity are no longer the focus of treatment.[2] Ensuring optimal quality of life by optimising function – encompassing physical, spiritual, psychosocial and cultural functioning – becomes the main goal.[2, 3]

Module 4: Optimising function in palliative care will help you develop your understanding of how to provide support for people affected by life-limiting illness to live as fully as possible, for as long as possible. In particular, it focuses on issues of loss, establishing goals of care and understanding the effect of caregiving.

Case Study: Meet Bob, who was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease 12 months ago. As Bob’s illness progresses a physiotherapist  and occupational therapist become involved in his care. As his condition deteriorates and day-to-day activities are increasingly difficult the GP explores the options for care and respite with Bob and his wife.

Case Study: Bob's Story YouTube Playlist

Aims and Objectives:

After completing this module, you should be able to:

  • Recognise the different responses and emotions of people affected by life-limiting illnesses
  • Discuss strategies for facilitating collaborative decision-making on care goals with people with life-limiting illnesses and their families
  • Identify interventions that will optimise physical, psychological and social function for people with life-limiting illnesses and their families
  • Analyse the effect of caregiving on the networks of people who support people with life-limiting illnesses.

For Educators:

Bob’s Story case scenario information, videos/audio, thinking points and workbook sections have been collated into a Padlet board for use in self-directed or group learning activities.

Access the padlet here.

Record of Participation



  1. World Health Organization. Constitution of WHO:  Principles. 2018  [cited 2018 June 25, 2018]; Available from:
  2. Rome, R.B., et al., The Role of Palliative Care at the End of Life. The Ochsner Journal, 2011. 11(4): p. 348-352.
  3. Palliative Care Australia. National Palliative Care Standards. 2018; 5th Edition:[Available from:].